A minor victory for common sense this week. And a hopeful (ok, that was totally naieve) sign that Nanny is finally getting the message that ordinary folks are really fed up with her controlling and over prescriptive approach.
This victory is close to my heart and represents a considerable change in attitude by the nice people who run TFL. That’s Transport for London (one of the better oxymoron’s in my view). Long suffering readers will recall my dispute with them concerning payment of congestion charge – I wanted to pay it a day late; they said you can’t, I sent a cheque, they cashed it and then tried to fine me. Much argument ensued. Finally they dropped the case. Queue much celebration.
Well now it seems they have either seen the light or, more cynically, someone (probably a lawyer) has told them that the approach they have been taking for the last 3 years was not entirely legal. It most certainly was not equitable, but then, TFL were really only interested in collecting fines as the system doesn’t even break even without them.
As of Monday June 19th you are now able to pay the charge a day late. There is a slight increase from 8 to 10 quid, which is pretty reasonable to me. I could be a little more cynical and suggest this is to smooth the way for the Western extension of the scheme, which will be rolled out in February 2007. But then again, when has Major Ken ever given a fig about public opinion?
Either way, this must really rankle with those folks who paid the 75 quid fine, simply because they forgot to pay on the day….. but at least now some common sense has prevailed. Don’t expect it to catch on.
Friday, June 23
So, at last all can be revealed. Big Mike has traded out of his Bentley and up to a Roller. Oops, sorry, that should be ‘Royce’.
We said the Bentley had altogether more sporting pretensions and did rather look the part… while the Royce is – how shall I put it? – somewhat less subtle?
His riposte was in two parts – at first reminding us that deep down he is still from across the Atlantic and therefore does have an errant predeliction for such styles … and second that this was no ordinary Royce. No sir. It’s one of only 50 RHD turbocharged Royces ever made. A Flying Spur. And it has its’ own number to boot.
All other doubts fled my mind Wednesday night, when for a brief moment he put his foot down. There is not the instant flight and flat scream of my 911, merely the briefest hestitation before 2 tonnes + of a nearly 20 ft long car lunges at the horizon very quickly indeed. Noise remains incredibly muted, with just a whiff of induction rush to remind you that under the bonnet the oily bits are getting real busy.
I can see why he was smitten – it’s a beautiful car. Add to that a rich ebony black paintwork (I’m sure it had a fancy name, but basically, black is black right?) and a cream hide interior that cost about 20 cows their coats. Their sacrifice was worth it. It’s long wheelbase and even the back seats recline….
Big Mike’s new motor outside Fabrizio’s in Clerkenwell. The owner of the scooter we nearly crushed while parking, offered us £8,000 for the car. Cash. Right.